As we are spending more time cooking at home as a family, this is a great opportunity to try new recipes as well as new foods.
Do you struggle to feel full? Have you had issues with constipation? Ever wondered how to decrease your risk of chronic disease such as diabetes, lower your cholesterol, or need help with weight management?
Fiber is an essential nutrient found in foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. It contributes to our health in a number of ways:
Fiber takes longer for our body to break down, so it keeps us fuller longer. This can help us limit extra snacking and maintain appropriate portion sizes.
Fiber, along with adequate hydration and activity, can help with constipation.
Fiber has been found to help with lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, which can help reduce risk of heart disease.
Fiber helps to avoid extreme spikes or drops of blood sugar, which is important for diabetes management.
Did you know that most Americans do not meet their recommended fiber intake on a daily basis? Do you know how much you and your family need?
The best way to get fiber is to eat whole fruits, vegetables, and whole grains daily! Fruits and vegetables can be fresh, canned, or frozen; however, processed foods generally have less fiber. For example: a whole apple has around 5 grams of fiber compared to applesauce that has about 2 grams of fiber and apple juice that contains no fiber. When choosing whole grains, look at the ingredient list to be sure the first ingredient says whole grain or whole wheat.
Below are ways to incorporate fiber into everyday meals and snacks:
Whole grain waffle topped with nut/soy butter and cut up fruit
Egg frittata with spinach, tomato and onion
Turkey, lettuce and tomato sandwich on whole wheat bread with a clementine
Whole grain crackers, with deli turkey or ham, cheese; carrots and ranch and an apple
Whole wheat pasta, cooked tomatoes, zucchini in spaghetti sauce with a side salad
Baked chicken with brown rice and stir fry veggies
As you increase your fiber intake, make sure you are also drinking enough water to ensure the fiber is able to work properly. It is recommended that kids consume around 32 ounces of water and older kids and adults consume up to 64 ounces each day.
Erica Domrose, RD, LD, is a registered and licensed dietitian with the Center for Healthy Weight and Nutrition at Nationwide Children's Hospital. Her areas of interest include promotion of healthy lifestyles and patient and family education.
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